The Fremantle Dockers kicked off 2011 at the club’s Season Launch at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre last night.

Freo member since the club’s inception in 1994 and Governor of Western Australia, His Excellency Dr Ken Michael began the night’s proceedings by officially declaring the 2011 season open.

The MC for the night, Channel 9’s Michael Thomson, then interviewed Freo President Steve Harris and Chief Executive Steve Rosich.

Rosich spoke of the challenges and expectations that lay ahead for the football club.

“In terms of off-field expectations, it’s nothing more than to continue to improve, and off-field to continue to give our coaching team and players the best opportunity to perform on the field,” he said.

“It’s a challenging competition. We are chasing the pack. There’s clearly a top four, and we’re not quite at that level yet and that’s our challenge.

“The other challenge is that the teams that were below us last year are chasing us as well. We’ve been doing our best to ensure that we are best prepared for that and we look forward to those challenges ahead.”

One of the highlights of the night was the inspirational speech made by Freo legend Shaun McManus, who presented the new recruits with their jumpers.

McManus spoke about what wearing the Fremantle jumper meant to him during his 228-game career at the port club.

“It meant absolutely everything to me,” he said.

“You’ll never forget the moment you walk into the change rooms, just before battle, and see your jumper hanging on the locker door, the chance to put that on and run out onto the ground with your teammates and represent Fremantle.”

The club was also proud to announce that Aussie rock band and Fremantle locals Eskimo Joe would again be Freo’s Number 1 ticket holders.

All three band members, Kav Temperley, Stu MacLeod and Joel Quartermain, were present on the night, with Temperley speaking to the crowd about the band’s pride to be involved with the Freo Dockers.

“I jog every morning in my Dockers’ jersey,” Temperley said.

Finally, senior coach Mark Harvey addressed the crowd. He said he was excited about what lay ahead for his young squad and for himself as a coach with the introduction of new rules in 2011.

“It’s a real challenge for the group,” he said.

“The interesting facet of the game is what the caps on the rotations will do. We haven’t actually played under that system yet.

“We believe we’re ready for it. It’s about us building and evolving.”

Fremantle begins its season against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday 26 March.

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